TODAY

TODAY   |  October 30, 2013

Woman admits to affair with Costa Concordia captain

Cruise dancer Dominica Cemortan admitted in court that she was having an affair with the captain of the Costa Concordia cruise ship when it ran aground and sank in 2012. She said it was ‘necessary’ to hide the information but that she hopes it helps the trial process. NBC’s Keir Simmons reports.

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>>> to dramatic testimony in court at the trial of the captain of that ill fated costa concordia cruise ship and it could explain a little bit about what happened that night. keir simmons has details on that. keir, good morning.

>> reporter: hey, matt, good morning. a year ago the captain of the costa concordia denied he had an affair. denied that the alleged lover was on the bridge of the ship or that any of this had anything to do with why the bridge sank but now the woman at the center of it all, a dancer, directly contradicted much of what the captain has to say. she is a 26-year-old cruise ship dancer who says she was having an affair with the captain of the costa concordia when his ship ran aground in 2012 .

>> people find out something that i tried to hide for two years from my life because this is my private life and i have a baby and this is necessary for me to hide.

>> reporter: on the night the concordia sank she had been invited on to the bridge. now she has finally conceded reluctantly giving evidence in court that she was the captain's lover.

>> the judge forced me to say something that is so private and i hope that will help him or the process to go on.

>> reporter: on trial t captain that is 53 and married strongly denied the relationship despite this photograph of them together enjoying oysters. speaking a year ago to nbc news, the captain said he was not with her on the bridge that night.

>> this girl she was outside the door. if she was my guest, she was close to me. but she was outside.

>> reporter: but as the ship sank, the prosecution questions why the captain fled leaving 32 passengers to die. his lawyer denies it.

>> the captain didn't leave the ship. he just tried to do everything to save people.

>> reporter: she is herself seeking damages from the captain. he faces up to 20 years in jail if convicted of manslaughter. and we also learned that when the ship ran aground she went back to the captain's cabin to collect her belongings and she was having dinner at the captain's table with him until around 15 minutes before the ship ran aground. so, savannah, perhaps we're getting a little closer to understanding what happened that night, savannah.

>>> wow, keir simmons in london, thank you very much. now